Tag Archives: mac

Indie Fever – a report on Macintosh independent developers

This report, titled: Indie Fever The genesis, culture and economy of a community of independent software developers on the Macintosh OS X platform by Michiel van Meeteren looks pretty interesting.

‘Indie Fever’ is the first result of a multi-year human geography research program to investigate the social and economical world of so-called ‘Indie’ developers on the Macintosh platform. ‘Indie’ is the self-chosen nickname of software developers that serve worldwide markets from the Internet, hold their artistic values in high esteem and celebrate their ability to make high quality software as small companies. Indies form a major part of the pool of developers of third party software for the iPhone that is currently available in Apple’s App Store.

It is a Bachelor’s thesis (108 pp) and covers a lot of ground, some obvious to Mac users or Mac decvlopers, but worth looking through.

Using the Macintosh clipboard for text without formatting

I have been a Macintosh user for almost 15 years (give or take a lapse or two) and I have never wanted to copy and then paste text from one application to another with fonts, style or other formatting information. In order to work around this “feature”, I often have to keep a text editor open just to paste the text into it and then copy and paste it in the application document I originally intended.

There has got to be a better way.

I’m sure there are all manner of utilities that will clear the text formatting or an OSX Service that will do the same. What I’m asking is for is a way to make the system default not use the formatting information when I either use the Cut, Copy or Paste from the Edit menu, or more truly, when my long-trained muscle memory uses the keyboard for such a task.

I will be wonderfully happy if someone can point me to an application that can help. Even better, if there is some system setting that I can tweak that has been hidden from me all these years.

International Verify your Backups Day 9/9

I know we already have a lot of holidays and special occasions in September but I think we need another one. Let’s make September 9th, International Verify your Backups Day. On 9/9 it seems like a good idea to make sure that at least 99% of the files you’ve been backing up can be recovered, if not why back things up?

I am certain that many of us are sporadically dutiful in using backup software, compressing a bunch of files and copying them to a CD or syncing with a backup server. All too often this labor is lost when we can’t actually recover or make sense of what we recover when we need to (and there will always be a time when you need to recover some data). Why not spend a few minutes making sure that all of that effort isn’t in vain? Try and recover some of your old files and make sure they’re file-liciously fresh and usable!

Yes, for some of you, this means that September 8th will be International Backup Day – but that’s OK, at least you’re backing up your valuable data.

How do I backup? I work on three different systems (with four different operating systems between them, sigh) and try to keep most of my working files in one main directory that’s the same on each. I routinely compress and back up this directory into one large file and make the date of the backup part of the file name (as in 08-08-2005-Docs.zip). Then, I copy this file to another hard disk as well as burn this file to a CD, label it with a Sharpie marker and store it in my home or office (alternating between the two). I also have specific configuration files for each system I work on and I back those up too with a combination of small scripts (to run a copy, merge and compress sequence) and then either keep the backup on the particular system in a directory called “backup”, SFTP to a server or burn those to CD less frequently. I usually do not worry about backing up whole applications since in most cases it’s easier to re-installl an application than manage a huge backup file. Much less frequently, I use a full disk backup application (like Retrospect, which I really don’t care for so much) and keep the giant backup file on an external 250GB hard disk.

For other content like all my music files, I just do a full copy to an external drive (I have three external drives, all at least 250GB in size) and rotate among them.

I have tried many other systems, like using version control, automated .Mac-like backup services, and any number of personal or large-scale sync applications (more on them in a later post), but none seem to have the simplicity of what I’m using now.
How often do you backup your data? How do you do it?

Trusted Computing is anything but AND loses my business

Cory Doctorow, over at boingboing links to a potential scoop about Apple to add Trusted Computing to the new kernel from a slashdot posting and commentary that references www.osx86.classicbeta.com (which I don’t see a story about on the main page).

Like, Cory – I’ve been an on-off Macintosh user for a long time (1985 for me, but Cory since 1979? you must have been 6 year old hacking on that Apple II!). If Apple Computer Inc. adds “trusted” computing, even in iTunes (wait, it’s not already in iTunes?), or in any other part of the OS, it would push me away from from the Macintosh as a computing platform I would use or recommend. I have been running GNU/Linux (but I usually just say “Linux” or in this case Ubuntu) on a PC/Intel machine now and it is pretty respectable and easy to use. I suspect many people are moving towards Linux-based systems and this would surely push them (or their companies) over the edge.

I would miss a few applications on the Mac, such as Salling Clicker, NetNewsWire and Quicksilver, but that’s a sacrifice I’d make to know that I can use my data whenever and in whatever application I like. I encourage these software developers to make their case known to Apple that choosing to enable a DRM system inside the OS (at the kernel level even) would impact the sales of their applications.

I also happen to work for a place that buys a huge number of Macs (let’s say 10,000 a year as a guess) and I would do my best to persuade them to stop purchasing all Apple equipment. I encourage anyone else with a dog in this fight to make a declaration about this too.

If I were the rabble-rousing, organizing type – I would recommend someone start an online petition to communicate mine (and your) opinions on trusted computing to Apple. Steve Jobs has managed to reinvograte Apple in the past few years, but I can think of nothing that would kill the Macintosh buzz and cachet quicker than locking owners out of their own data.

Update: It looks like myself and others didn’t have the whole story (but who does?) in that there do not seem to be any current plans to enable this technology into the core of the Mac OS. Some have mentioned that it could be used to ensure that the intel-flavored OS will only run on Apple hardware. As an Apple Computer, Inc. shareholder I can understand this, as a Macintosh user I do not want this as an extra thing to have to worry about when using the system, as a OS X developer I do not want this as an extra set of functions or libraries to have to work with or be concerned in conflicting with.

I do have to ask myself, is there any situation or clever use of “Trusted” Computing or DRM that is actually useful for a user? One comes to mind – version control – but there are a number of non-restrictive ways to solve that problem as we know. Let’s discuss it.

Frontier going Open Source

According to eWeek: UserLand Frontier is going open source soon. Since it’s mostly a client-based system, will this really make a difference, especially with all the recent acrimony with SixApart’s Movable Type licensing?

Also, client software seems less likely to be taken up by the open source community, as you’ve got to master either operating systems APIs and have a OS developer’s kit or IDE to work. In this case (AFAIK) we’re talking MacOS and Windows, both which do have a learning curve. I’m also assuming since Frontier has been around a long time – I played with it in 1995 – that it’s not so groovy with Mac OS X Panther, etc.

As I’m advocating “a server on every desktop, a chicken in every pot” (ok, or a palatable vegetarian substitute), Frontier might be one of the ways that individuals, but more interestingly enterprises might take some of the technology and make a run with it. Done the right way, it might bump up against Groove or even Lotus Notes.